By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal yesterday directed the acquittal of a man who was accused of robbing and killing another man in Exuma seven years ago.
Four months after quashing Giordano Rolle Jr’s 27-year prison sentence, the appellate panel of justices ruled it was not “in the interest of justice” for a retrial to be ordered.
In 2014, Giordano Rolle Jr and his co-accused Demetri Rolle were said to have stolen a gold chain, gold watch and a sum of cash from Dwayne Nixon before fatally shooting him in his Exuma residence.
In March 2017, a jury unanimously convicted Rolle Jr of murder, and by a verdict of 10-2, the jury also convicted him of armed robbery. A year later, he was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment for murder and 12 years for armed robbery. Both sentences were ordered to run concurrently and took effect from the date of his conviction.
Rolle Jr recently appealed his sentence after arguing the conviction was “unsafe and unsatisfactory” as the judge had erred in law when she “wrongfully exercised her discretion by ending the voir dire and admitting the record of interview” into his case.
In March, Justices Maureen Crane-Scott, Roy Jones and Milton Evans quashed the appellant’s conviction after ruling the facts of the case left them with “lurking doubts” regarding the fairness of Rolle Jr’s trial.
At the time, they invited Crown and defence counsel to address them on the issue of whether Rolle Jr’s case was an appropriate matter to order a retrial having regard to the “statutory discretion” of the Court of Appeal Act.
According to court documents, both parties filed written submissions with authorities as directed.
Justice Crane-Scott said after the panel heard oral arguments on the matter, they decided to exercise their discretion against ordering a retrial and instead “directed Rolle’s acquittal and release from custody”.
“It is not in the interests of justice for a retrial to be ordered,” Justice Crane-Scott stated. “The appellant is acquitted and released in accordance with section 13(2) of the Court of Appeal Act, Ch 52. Having weighed these several matters in the balance in the exercise of our discretion and applying the guidance in Reid, we were satisfied that in this particular case it was not in the interests of justice for a new trial to be ordered and declined to do so.”